The Heart and the Will

Note: Thanks for the reviews guys! Here is the second chapter!


Two

The uneasiness caused by her dreams and the new girl in her class passed as American History started rolling, faithfully lulling Buffy into a trance. Her mind kept flitting back to her unfathomable dream, where strange and familiar words and voices swirled around in panic and confusion. Something sat the pit of her stomach, something she knew was important but couldn't grasp. The voice she heard in her head earlier in the library gave her the distinct feeling of bittersweet affection.

A soul. Whoever speaking to her must have been a vampire, but it wasn't Angel. Was there another vampire out there with a soul—one who got it for someone? No, for her; though that was quite impossible. She couldn't think of any vampires she knew beside Angel who would do anything like that. Did vampires ever try to retrieve their own souls? Giles must know something about it.

The hour passed uneventfully, though she missed an entire blurb about the Reconstruction that she would have to bother Willow about. The bell rang, and the class clambered out of the room for lunch hour. Buffy and Willow lingered outside the classroom for Xander, who, surprisingly, appeared with the new girl by his side. Buffy and Willow gave each other amused looks.

"Girls!" Xander greeted them, his chest puffed out proudly by the fact that he actually got the new girl to come with him, "I want you to meet Kat O'Nea."

Buffy smiled, "We know Xander. We're in the same class."

"Of course," Xander continued, undeterred, "Kat, this is Buffy—and Willow."

Kat O'Nea, for her part, sustained a patient, pleasant smile on her face. Buffy's mind flickered back to the feeling of uneasiness she experienced when the other girl had looked at her in class. The feeling arose again, but it was also accompanied by an impression of familiarity. Like she had seen the girl somewhere before.

"Nice to meet you," said Kat, her smile turning friendlier, "Xander has been very nice to me. I feel welcomed."

"Oh good," agreed Willow, nodding her head, "Xander is good at that."

Xander grinned at them, "So, Buff, Will, I asked Kat if she wants to join us for lunch you know. Get to know that gang and all. Well, lunch gang."

"Oh of course," Buffy exclaimed, smiling a little too widely, "Yeah. Um, Kat, this might sound weird, but I feel like I've seen you before somewhere. Have I?"

"I can't say," Kat replied, "Am I familiar?"

"A little, but it's probably just me. Um, look, Will, Xander—I gotta go talk to Giles a bit more. I'll meet you later?"

Willow frowned, worried, "Problem?"

"Nothing big, you know. Just, stuff we talked about."

"Oh, okay. We'll see you later then?"

"Sure thing. See ya Xander, and Kat—nice to meet you."

The choruses of goodbye sent Buffy on her way back to the library, where Giles was still flipping through musty old books with a jelly donut in one hand.

"Giles. What's up? Find anything?"

Giles looked up, and put down his book and donut. "Unfortunately, nothing. To be frank, I must say your dream might just be a dream, albeit a traumatic nightmare. It doesn't seem like it's a Slayer dream. And since you can't seem to give me anything concrete, I have nothing to go on."

Buffy leaned on the table, scrunching her nose in disappointment. "But, what about the 'Chip'?"

"That's just as perplexing, Buffy. I can't find anything on just 'chip'."

She sighed, and slumped into a chair opposite of him. "I know, Giles. I mean, I know it might just be a bad dream—I did have anchovy and pineapple pizza last night and some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches right after. But, this feeling that I'm getting from the dreams, Giles, it's awful. Like, if I dwell on it, I feel like I'll never be happy again." And I feel tired…and older. And so confused sometimes.

"Do you think that uh, the dreams have a demonic or magical source?"

"I dunno. I mean, if it does, does it mean that some evil out there just want to make me feel sad? 'Cause that's being a jerk, not evil."

"Well—"

"And I feel like I've forgotten something really important."

Giles frowned. "Well, one theory that I have is that perhaps you did have a Slayer dream, but something might be preventing you from remembering it."

"Like a spell?"

"Yes—I could definitely trace you for any lingering spell."

"Okay. Worth a shot. And who knows, you might be right: could be a random nightmare."

"Perhaps. We'll figure it out Buffy."

She gave him a grateful smile. "Thanks Giles!" Buffy made to stand and leave, but sat back down again to as another thought struck her. "Oh, I was wondering, Giles…"

Giles looked up expectedly, the donut back in his hand once again and traveling to his mouth. "Yes?"

"Have there been any vampires with souls? I-I mean, besides Angel?"

Giles blinked. He hadn't been expecting that. "Um, I'm not sure if I ever had. Angel's case is more than rare you must understand."

"Of course I do! I mean, we can't all have souled vampires running around, right?"

"Right right, but I'll look into it for you if you'd like. Has-has it got something to do with your dream?"

"It might. I mean, I feel like it might, you know. Oh! And can Vampires choose to get their own souls back?"

Now that question seemed to take Giles by surprise. The man just put his donut down, knowing he wouldn't be able to take a bite with Buffy in her rapid 20-questions mood. The dream was bothering her more than he thought.

"Well," he began uncertainly, cocking his head in thought, "I suppose it's not a matter of can—there are a lot of ways one can call upon your soul from the ether, but it require terrible magicks and trials of the most frightening kind. The problem is mostly, well, will. The demon in the vampire would be practically asking for torture or suicide if it seeks out a soul, Buffy. It is nearly impossible for a creature without conscious to willingly want one. I imagine it takes an incredible amount of resolve and circumstances for something like that to happen."

Buffy frowned. "But, it's improbable, not impossible."

"Yes."

This new bit of information seemed to brighten Buffy a bit. "Then, is it probable for a vampire to go seek out a soul because he fell in love with a human? Is there any record of that?"

Giles frowned visibly at his Slayer, wondering where all this was coming from. "More impossible than probably, Buffy. Vampires can't love, or at least feel true love. They might feel sexual attraction and seek companionship, mostly towards each other, but any true feeling towards a human being is impossible."

Buffy nodded thoughtfully, at first accepting Giles's explanation. However, the fact that vampires can't love struck her in a wrong way, as if she knew personally to doubt that dogma. She looked at her Watcher critically. "About that loving thing…are you sure that vampires can't?"

Giles looked at her oddly. "I'm quite sure, Buffy. If you're not convinced, perhaps you can ask Angel. He might be able to…um…answer these questions better than I would be able to."

Buffy smiled at the suggestion. She was always up for a reason to see her vampire honey. "Ooh, good idea, I will. Anyways, I'm gonna go stuff some food down my throat before lunch period ends. Thanks, Giles. Bye."

Giles nodded, happily, and waved his Slayer goodbye. When she left, he looked down lovingly at his jelly donut. "Finally it's just you and me."


"So, Bronze? Me, Willow and you?"

Buffy snapped out of her daze, and stared at Xander blankly. "Uh, what?"

Xander frowned. "You okay, Buffy? You've been scary with all the zoning out lately."

"Oh, sorry Xander," Buffy sighed, "My mind's all mixy and confused and sleepy, cause of the nightmares. But uh, what were you saying?" She looked around the lunch table, surprising to the new girl Kat sitting between Willow and Xander. She was mildly amazed that Kat was still with them; she had thought Cordelia would have swept in and taken the girl under her wings like she had tried to with Buffy—cause those boots Kat was wearing were something seriously awesome. She supposed Kat wasn't the crony type.

"Bronze tonight," said Willow, "We thought we could show Kat the coolest place in Sunnydale!"

"Well, not that there's much competition," Xander put in earnestly, "But, they do serve some mean buffalo chicken wings."

Buffy smiled fondly at the mention of the wings. "And onion blossoms," she added.

"Ooh yes," Willow agreed, "Those things are great."

"Wow, chicken wings and onion blossoms," Kat said, "I'm sold. Get me initiated into Sunnydale's cult of cool."

Willow smiled happily. "Hah, hear that, we're the cult of cool."

"Uh, as if. If any of you are a member the cult of cool, then I'm the Queen of England."

The vituperative, valley girl voice belonged to their beloved Frenemy Cordelia Chase, who had just approached their table, hands on hips. She was dressed in a tight black and pink dress and glaring down at them condescendingly. She addressed Kat, "If you're done playing nice with these losers, then you can join me and the girls before your status becomes permanently irreparable."

"Oh careful Cordy," sniped Xander, "Using five syllable words might be more than you can handle."

Cordelia rolled her eyes.

Kat, on the other hand, was looking at Cordelia curiously. "You're Cordelia Chase?"

"Yeah, I am. And, Kat, we're over there at the center of the room." She smiled, whipped around and left the gang staring after her incredulously. Kat, much to Xander's relief and Willow's pleasure, made no move to follow Cordelia, or look like she wanted to. She merely stared after the other girl like she couldn't quite figure out something.

"You just met Queen C," sighed Willow, shaking her head.

Kat looked at Willow. "She's not your friend?"

Willow eyed Kat in surprised. "Um, no, if that little exchange was anything to go by."

Kat nodded in understanding. "Oh. Okay."

Buffy giggled. "Careful around her, unless you wanna get sucked into her little gang of sycophants—unless, of course you want to be—not sycophant, but her friend. I mean—"

"Don't worry Buffy," Kat said, smiling, "Not interested."

"That's good to hear," Xander sighed, "Cause let me tell you, Cordy is bad news."


Bronze night didn't start off so well for the Scoobies and their new guest. On their way to the club, they were attacked by four vampires when they were passing by the park. While Buffy fought them, Willow and Xander attempted to make a run for it to get Kat out of the way, but the vampires rounded on them, growling in their yellow-eyed game face.

"They're vampires," Kat stated, and looked at Willow for confirmation. The demons glared their teeth at them.

"Yeah, vampires," Willow said, nodding. It was a bit too late to hide it anymore. Then Buffy did with the slaying, and the four vampires disappeared one by one into piles of dust.

"And Buffy is the Vampire Slayer," Xander explained as Buffy dusted off her new outfit, muttering threats to all soulless vampires.

The three of them looked to Kat for her reaction. The girl, for her part, still seemed to be processing what had just happened. Finally, things seemed to click and her eyes went wide with realization. "They're vampires? For real?"

"Yup," Buffy sighed, "They're real. All the creepy crawly things, monsters underneath your bed—all real."

"Oh," was Kat's response, "Weird. Shocking really, but it makes sense."

"It does?"

"Stuff I've been reading about in Sunnydale, like weird deaths and stuff," Kat replied, "And history of occult activity. Kind of cool."

Buffy made a face. "Not exactly, but hey, you're not freaking out too much so I'm all good."

"Yeah Kat," agreed Willow, "You were as cool as a cucumber."

"Well, I suppose I feel safe around a Slayer," Kat beamed at Buffy, "I think I'll start freaking out when everything have sunk in though. You were impressive, Buffy, with the kung-fu and that strength! You have superpowers or something?"

Buffy smiled, liking the praise. "Yeah kind of, one of the perks I suppose."t

"Very cool perk."


The DeSoto rattled gently on the long, empty stretch of California highway. Spike, in his bleached hair glory, drove patiently in the silence, wanting to put of some tunes, but afraid to wake his beloved passenger in the seat next to him.

Drusilla let out a hoarse moan as the universe pushed itself into her mind. "Spike," she whimpered, turning to him, "It breaks, Spike, it hurts."

"I know, luv," he sighed, looking sadly at the crumpled state of his sire, "When we get to the hellmouth, we'll get you strong again."

Drusilla shook her head like a child. "No. Things are wrong Spike. All wrong. Her hands have broken them, into pieces she eats and spits out and rearranges them like she wants. She wants to save us all. The stars, they are nervous and the pixies are anxious. They are afraid of her, and her, and what she can do. She's two at once, and she breaks all rules."

"Who, pet?"

"Slayer and her Patron."

"The Slayer…" Spike repeated, a smile creeping across his face, "Yes, there is a Slayer at the hellmouth. Is that just great, ducks? You can get stronger on Slayer blood, and you'll be my Dark Princess in all your black glory once more."

Drusilla pouted and looked at Spike. "She'll swallow you too."

Spike frowned. "Swallow me?"

"Yes, my sweet. You'll give yourself."

"No I bloody well won't!" Spike barked angrily, making Drusilla whimper. "Sorry, luv, but nothing can take me away from you."

"But you've already have…" Drusilla mused softly, "Things go loop-di-loop, break and form, loop and tangled. All tangled. Because of the Gods have come out to play."

"Look Dru, why don't you get some kip, pet? We'll be there in a day or so."

"No, can't sleep. The fragments cut into my mind. The Keeper and her Slayer eats them."

"Dru…" repeated Spike patiently, "Sleep, pet. I'll get us a nice, fresh girl to eat and you'll feel better."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

Drusilla looked out to the road. "Gods and Goddesses, all in a row," she whispered in a sing-song voice, "Glorious, it comes, and fall as they go. She walks in light, and she walks in tow. She will come through, and eat us all."

Spike glanced at Drusilla, recognizing that she was seeing something. "Nice lil' rhyme, love. Who'll eat us?"

"Not us, Spike, not us. She can't eat us. Not if there's no light."

"Who can't eat us, then?"

"The Keeper and her Charge, the Slayer and her Love, with Little Miss Muffet, will swallow us whole."

"I see," Spike muttered, frowning, "Slayer and her Love? Well then, we're gonna have to eat this slayer first, right, ducks?"

Drusilla smiled, her eyes dazed and dreamy. "Oh the headiness of the divine blood; to taste the universe…"


Next time

Three: School Hard I

Buffy asks Angel about the nature of vampires while Spike rolls into town. They meet on the night of the Parent Teacher meeting, but something about Spike distracts Buffy.